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a home for forgotten and famous korean pulp, its heroes, its heroines, and its pulpeteers

Archive for colonial period

No time for watches? 시계위한 시간이 없나?

Master Lee has wondered why most of his opponents in Korea are seriously 빨리빨리 about most things — like hitting the canvas — and yet Korea does not have a watch culture. At least, it doesn’t any more. During the colonial period, both Japanese (Seiko) and American watch manufacturers like Waltham (in the first ad here transliterated in jolly Japanese as “wa-o-ru-sa-mu”) and Elgin (see second insert from Tonga ilbo [Tonga Daily] 21/12/1937) successfully marketed many of their products, primarily pocket watches, to the urban, corporate Korean and Japanese. Read the rest of this entry »

Manchurian Tiger 龍虎對鍊 (1974) review

A title like this sure gets the Master going. Manchurian Tiger… with Han Yongcheol 한용철 aka Charlie Han, the guy who packs a punch and a kick or two. And directed by the dean of Korean action Lee Doo Yong 이두용.  The movie starts out great with Han extorting money from a dubious-looking character. We know we’re in Manchuria because the dubious-looking character is dressed in Chinese-style clothes (let the Master rephrase: cinema Chinese-style clothes). Action then switches to the bad guys (same clothes, mixed with Japanese-style clothes to conveniently identify who’s bad) who are kicking, punching and whipping the bejeezus out of a Read the rest of this entry »

When Taekwondo Strikes 跆拳震九州 (1973)

Classic Taekwondo movie starring the great Jhoon Rhee (李俊九) and Angela Mao. Set during the colonial period, it tells of the tribulations Koreans went through at the hands of the merciless Japanese occupier. Some, however, fight back using Taekwondo. Now, for those who grew up watching Olympic Taekwondo, this may sound like a lost cause, but proper Taekwondo Read the rest of this entry »

Private Eye 그림자살인 2009 review

private eyeWhat is it about Korean soundtracks that makes them instantly recognizable? Is the ever-present accordion? The dramatic yet light-footed rhythm of the intro (think dancing bears), the canned strings? The Master isn’t sure (which as you know doesn’t happen very often), Read the rest of this entry »

Kill The Shogun 무장해제 1975 review

1killtheshogunzu0In 1592, the Japanese shogun Hideyoshi failed in his attempt to invade Korea (and later, China through Korea). This Hong Kong kung-fu thriller is loosely based on that historical incident. Since the real Hideyoshi is not an issue, and kung-fu is the star of the movie anyway, historical narration does not overpower the action. Basically, the movie shows the Koreans fighting the Japanese against all odds Read the rest of this entry »

Once Upon A Time 원스 어폰 어타임 2008 review

Movies about the colonial period in Korea are getting more and more popular. And they are looking real good as well. Master Lee was impressed with the production values of these movies: Radio Days, Epitaph and the movie he saw just now, Once Upon A Time.

The best way to describe Once Upon A Time 원스 어폰 어타임 Read the rest of this entry »

Hapkido 合氣道 aka Lady Kung Fu 女活殺拳 1972 review

hapkido2.jpgHere comes the unbreakable china doll to give you the kicking of your life! That is a fair description of this early Hong Kong/South Korean co-production made by Golden Harvest. Three Chinese students (Angela Mao as Yu Ying, Carter Wong as Kao Chang and Sammo Hung as Fan Wei) Read the rest of this entry »